Prostate cancer HIFU – is it right for you? Great question!
“Quality of life is just as important as quantity”
I wish I could take credit for that quote, but I can’t. One of my patients who underwent HIFU treatment for prostate cancer told me that. It’s such a simple, perfect statement that really resonates well with men recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. After being diagnosed with prostate cancer, you have a lot to think about. I think it’s helpful for you to organize your thoughts and carefully consider the following aspects of each treatment option:
- Logistics – what’s involved in the treatment, including hospital stay vs outpatient, number of treatments, location, cost, etc.?
- Cancer outcome – what does the published literature tell us the likelihood of ‘cure’ with each treatment option? And what would be your treatment options if the cancer recurs, or comes back?
- Treatment-related side effects – what risks or side effects can you expect in terms of your overall health, urinary function, and sexual function?
It’s important to recognize that the aspects of treatment that are significant for you may be very different than those for another prostate cancer patient. For example, some men have normal sexual function and are very concerned with maintaining it. Some men don’t care about that, but have a fear or resistance to the concept of radiation therapy. Other men are dealing with significant urinary symptoms that could affect the decision. Some may work in a job where having any urinary incontinence is completely unacceptable. Some cancers are non-aggressive with no chance of spreading such that surgery or radiation may be ‘overkill’. Some men have highly aggressive, locally advanced prostate cancer such that certain treatments are NOT appropriate. So the key here is that every cancer is different. And every man is different.
So how do you know if HIFU is right for you?
HIFU is a non-invasive, ablative therapy for the definitive treatment of localized prostate cancer. You can learn more about how HIFU works HERE. Prostate HIFU is an attractive option for men looking for a solution that provides an excellent cancer treatment while preserving quality of life. You can review extensive published literature on the outcomes with HIFU for prostate cancer HERE. So what do I mean by preserving quality of life? These are some of the quality of life benefits of HIFU:
- Better preservation of erectile function
- Potential preservation of ejaculatory function – i.e.. normal sexual climax.
- Minimal risk of incontinence
- No radiation damage to the bladder or rectum
- No pain.
- Outpatient procedure with nearly immediate recovery
If any of these are important to you, then I think you should at least consider HIFU. HIFU offers the potential to perform a focal treatment for cancers that are small or localized to discrete areas of the prostate. This is comparable to a lumpectomy for breast cancer. By treating only the area with cancer, we can further minimize any effects on surrounding structures and thus reduce treatment-related side effects. I should emphasize that patient selection is critical, and not all patients are good candidates for focal therapy. If you need help, I’d be glad to meet with you and determine if it’s right for you.